What are you doing right now to change your exposure to tail swing and sideswipe accidents? 

What are you doing right now to change your exposure to tail swing and sideswipe accidents? This is one of the questions insurance companies look at each year as they evaluate your school’s insurability.

In order for an insurance company to insure your district, and for you to transport students as safely as possible, you must decrease your chances of having the two most common accidents made in student transportation … tail swing and sideswipe accidents.  And there is only one way to affect change in this area. You must change school bus driver performance.  And that comes down to training and accountability.


Vertical Alliance Group, Inc. recently attended a Public Risk Management Association (PRIMA) Conference, where we spoke with risk managers representing insurance companies.  Each conversation we had echoed the prior conversation.  It went something like this…

“Schools train bus drivers at the beginning of the year.  They study accidents to spot trends.  They discipline drivers involved in minor accidents.  Most schools don’t run unsafe school bus operations, but what really hurts them from an insurance standpoint is the number of preventable accidents they have related to tail swing and sideswipe.”

Armed with that knowledge, we started talking with some of our friends in student transportation. We asked them to share with us how many accidents they have per year in student transportation and if they had ever noticed a correlation between what caused those accidents.

After looking at data from five different school districts, we found each school had an average of 25 minor accidents a year, typically related to tail swing or sideswipe.  While most of those preventable accidents involved minor damage to mailboxes or stop signs, each cost around $1,000 to fix.

Stop spending $25,000+ on damages from preventable accidents

It doesn’t take a math whiz to quickly realize the schools I just mentioned are spending an average of $25,000 a year just fixing damages created because school bus drivers forgot the policies that dictate how to safely avoid these preventable accidents.  Yes, you read that right.  Schools are throwing away at least $25,000 a year on school bus drivers who’ve become complacent.  They simply forgot the training they received earlier in the year.  The good news is, the Infinit-I Workforce System can help you solve this problem..

But first, did you know…

Studies show one in six school bus crashes involve personal injury.

While it didn’t take a math whiz to do the last bout of calculations, you may want to ask your school’s attorney how quickly that number could increase if the accident involved a person.  It only takes one tail swing or side swipe accident involving a pedestrian to wrap your district into a personal injury legal nightmare.  The cost for paying out on that can run into the $100,000+ range.

One easy solution to help stop tail swing and sideswipe accidents

Let’s go back for a moment to the conversation we had with various insurance risk managers.  There’s a second piece to what they had to tell us.

“When you train a teenager to drive, you practice skills with them repeatedly. Skills like backing, increasing following distance, lane changes, and proper speeds. A school bus driver needs the same ongoing training. They should be totally saturated on defensive driving skills training. They should be totally saturated on safety training.”

“How much emphasis a school district places on training is directly related to their insurance premiums. If a district has a high frequency of accidents and is not training to prevent them from happening through awareness, they will have higher insurance premiums because the frequency and severity of their accidents will continue to grow.”

And that’s where the Infinit-I Workforce Solution for Schools comes into play.   For the 2017-2018 school year, we’ve added several new training titles to our catalog, including new videos specifically focused on helping your school bus drivers keep best practices for avoiding tail swing and sideswipe top of mind.  Not only that, but in the event you notice a trend of any type of bad driver behavior, the system makes it easy for you to react to it, train on it, and prove you’ve held your school bus drivers accountable.

If you’d like to discuss adding these titles to your school bus driver training program, call your Client Service Representative at 877-792-3866, ext. 400.